Sunday, October 29, 2006

How Were People Saved Before Jesus Died?

Based on the chronology of the Old Testament, people lived c. 4000 years before Jesus died. Since Jesus died, we (us people) have lived around 1976 years. Before the flood, humans lived longer. They also had more children per family than what we do. I think we could safely say that twice as many human beings lived before Christ died than have since. How can we say that the substitionary death of Christ is the only way for anyone to be saved? Were they saved in a different way in the Old Testament times?

Romans 3:25 essentially point blank answers this question:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
Before Christ those who trusted in the coming Messiah were saved by His grace. They believed God's Word regarding salvation, which is the everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14:6). Those who believed in the Messiah, according to the revelation God gave them, put faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and their sins were remitted, that is, disregarded until they were declared righteous upon Christ's death. The Lord's death and shed blood propitiated (satisfied) the righteous justice of God. God remitted or passed over the sins of Old Testament saints based upon His forbearance.

Let's say that I owed a huge debt to someone whom I could not repay. However, I knew someone who I was 100% sure would pay my debt at some point in the future, so I came to the one to whom I owed my debt and asked for mercy based upon the reputation of the one who could and would pay my debt. Old Testament saints owed a debt. Jesus could and would pay the debt. The Father would remit their sins through their faith in the future Messiah, His Son. He would forbear, holding back His righteous judgment, until the day that His justice was satisfied by Christ's debt payment on the cross.


Anonymous said...

I like the statistics you gave about tons more people dying under the OT system than the NT. The method of salvation has never changed--it has always been through faith in the Word of God. Abraham was saved when he simply believed what God said. We are saved by believing what God said. Yes we are saved by placing our faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins, but it is from the Word that we find out about salvation. We are saved by believing what the Bible says about Christ. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23). OT and NT salvation is by means of the Word.

Anonymous said...

"If you have Christ, this life is as bad as it will get for you. If you don't have Christ, this life is as good as it will get for you."

Anonymous said...

Vocabulary is so important! Somehow when I read the word "remission", I thought of Christ's blood covering my sin. Again God showing me the importance of studying His words. Now I have the understanding of what He actually intended "pavresi├č" (passing over). His plan is perfect.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Brandenburg,

Despite what I just wrote to you last night over on Bob's blog (something I still belive needs to be said...), I just saw and read this article on your blog. And I just wanted to say a huge "AMEN!" to this. You faithfully and succintly addressed a question that I have found many to be asking.

Your Christ-centered treatment of the OT saints' faith is sorely lacking all across the Church in America today. Praise God for this short but immensely helpful post!

I only hope that you might strive to major your ministry on such subjects as these, and thereby avoid needless and Godless schism.